Monash impact: students

WHILE the benefits of a new “regionally focused” university for Gippsland were being spruiked by university leaders on Friday, student body representatives had reservations.

Monash University Gippsland Student Union welfare director Sonia Rowe said losing the Monash brand would be widely felt by students.

“We are concerned about international students moving away because they are here for a Monash degree… and we don’t think the Monash level of prestige is shared by the (University of) Ballarat in this region so people are concerned a Ballarat degree may not be recognised (in the same way),” Ms Rowe said.

Referring to current year 12 students canvassing tertiary options for 2014, Ms Rowe said “I think students coming into the system are confused about whether they will be doing a Monash degree or not and do they need to keep their ATAR score up?”.

While lowered course entry requirements could prove beneficial to some students, it would also see “a widening in the gap of entry levels in the one course, which is a problem for some students,” Ms Rowe said.

She said students felt ill-informed about how the transition would impact on them and MUGSU was concerned a new university structure would not provide for student representation.

“Ballarat does not have a separately incorporated student union, so we are worried about that,” she said.

Monash University Gippsland campus Pro Vice-Chancellor Professor Robin Pollard said a taskforce had been established to look at the possibility of a student representative body within the new university.